Watch Out! Bird Dive Bombs Customers at Local Shop

Mockingbird declares war on passersby at Fredericksburg, Va., coffee shop

By Tonya LaFleur
|  Monday, Jul 19, 2010  |  Updated 9:21 AM EDT
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Is this a songbird or an attack animal? A very protective mother mockingbird is terrorizing patrons of a Virginia strip mall.

Is this a songbird or an attack animal? A very protective mother mockingbird is terrorizing patrons of a Virginia strip mall.

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Yikes! What was that? It came from up in those trees!  Unsuspecting pedestrians duck to avoid being attacked as they try to walk to and from a local coffee shop and hair salon.

The culprit: a mama mockingbird.  She’s been making her nest in a Fredericksburg, Va., strip mall for the last few years. 

Customers at the Caribou Coffee and The Madison Salon on Carl D. Silver Parkway can’t avoid walking past the protective parent’s tree as they go to grab a latte or get their highlights touched up.

One local teenager was so freaked out by assaults that Fredericksburg.com videotaped his ordeal.  The footage is now a hit on YouTube.

"The first time I was really surprised,” said 17-year-old David Martin.  “The third time I got really mad and threw my keys at it.”

Martin’s sister is a shift supervisor at the Caribou Coffee there.  She says despite her brother’s annoyance, the bird’s been mostly entertainment and, surprisingly, good for business.

“It makes people stay here longer, they're like, 'Oh, I don't want to go outside yet',” said Aryn Martin. 

A number of people come into the shop just out of curiosity because they’ve heard about the famous bird.

“She's actually pretty exciting,” said Martin.  “We all stand behind the counter and watch people walk up, get attacked ... and chased across the parking lot.”

Some days the mama mockingbird is more aggressive than others.  Usually she squawks, swoops, and just grabs at hair, but some days she’s been known to take a nibble on an arm.  

So far, no one has been seriously hurt from the bird attacks.

“Our manager's boss did slip and fall (after being attacked by the bird) a few days ago, but she's OK now,” said Brittney Henderson at The Madison Salon.

Even if they wanted to, getting rid of the bird isn’t an option -- the mockingbird is a protected species in Virginia.  

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